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“Belize should raise retirement age,” says PSU

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Posted: Sunday, May 17, 2020. 1:20 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Public Service Union (PSU), in a series of recommendations made to the Government of Belize (GOB) on cost-saving measures that could improve the country’s economic standing as it recovers from the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 has suggested that GOB extend the retirement age for public officers from 55 to 60 years.

The PSU suggested that the change take the form of increasing the mandatory retirement age to 60 years old for new entrants; moving the early retirement age to 55 years old for new entrants, and setting a cut off date for current officers who would be affected by the new mandatory retirement age.

The union also recommended that government, “offers officers who are already in service, perhaps those who have 25 years or more of service, the option to retire at age 55 without the possibility of being rehired on a contractual basis or to remain employed until the new mandatory retirement age of 60.”

The recommendation is one that international agencies such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have made to other countries in the past. In 2014 the IMF recommended that Uruguay increase the retirement age to 65, explaining that a phased approach to doing so would have various economic benefits including reducing the amount of money the government would have to pay out in pensions.

“An increase in the retirement age would also lead to an increase in the individual savings accounts, since workers would contribute for more years, as well as in the annuity paid to retirees as it would in addition partly compensate the increase in life expectancy at retirement,” the IMF explained.

The recommendation is even more relevant to Belize as that same report says that Belize has the lowest retirement age in Latin America. The countries and retirement ages listed in the report include Argentina-65, Bolivia-58, Brazil-65, Chile-65, Colombia-62, Costa Rica-65, Dominican Republic-60, El Salvador-60, Guatemala-60, Honduras-65, and Mexico-65.

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